There are plenty of well-known reasons to visit Italy, from its iconic architecture to its world-famous cuisine and beautiful villages. Yet to get to know a different side of Italy by travelling like a local. Uncover hidden gems in out-of-the-way destinations, taking it a bit slower and experiencing all that this magnificent country has to offer.
Get off the main road
Once you’ve seen the major tourist attractions, piazzas and monuments, why not take a wander down a few side streets? You’re more likely to capture the local flavour of a city by exploring its out-of-the-way alleys and lesser known piazzas, where you’ll find hidden markets, cafes and shops filled with people going about their daily lives. Take the time to enjoy a leisurely stroll in the afternoon
Follow an Italian schedule
While in the USA or UK it might be normal to eat dinner at 5 or 6 in the evening after work, Italians follow a different schedule. Build all the little rituals into your day that a local would, starting with your morning cappuccino and pastry. This leads to a leisurely lunch in the early afternoon, followed by a pre-dinner aperitivo with companions before a later dinner. In the summer, it’s rare to dine before 8 pm but this gives you more time to explore! And that aperitivo will help tide you over.
Stay in a villa
What better way to travel like a local than to stay in a typical apartment or villa? You could go the Airbnb route or opt for something a tad more spacious in the countryside. Villas to rent in Italy range from rustic country houses to more luxurious grand homes, so peruse all the options to suit your party’s needs, especially if you’re planning a longer stay.
People watching is an activity
If your usual travel schedule involves ticking as many attractions off your list in a day, you’ll need to slow it down to travel like a local. Learn the art of people watching in a piazza, sitting in an outdoor café and just observing the world around you as you sip on a cool drink or enjoy a light bite in the shade. By taking the time to do ‘nothing’ you’ll be able to allow yourself to relax.
Shop at a market
One of the greatest pleasures of a journey to Italy is sampling all the bountiful fresh produce, and there’s no better place to find it than at the market. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or tips to choose the best products for your intended uses, whether you’re serving a fresh salad or baking fruit into a tart.
Dress to impress
When travelling through Italy one thing becomes quickly apparent – how easy it is to spot the tourists. Leave your flip-flops and gym clothes behind, (except when you’re at the beach and gym) unless you want to stand out for all the wrong reasons. Take the time to do your hair properly and wear smart, neatly pressed clothing even for casual sightseeing!